Behind the Scenes - BTS#15: Al Kharid: Rebuilding a City

Uploaded by runescape on 24.08.2012

Behind the Scenes - All new Al Kharid
Al Kharid is about to get the makeover of all makeovers and so this week,
RuneScape Art Manager Mod Engstrom takes us behind the scenes for an in depth look
at the new Al Kharid and to meet his trusty team of artists,
modellers and animators making it all happen.
We're very excited about the updates to Al Kharid.
It's been a very popular area internally and with the players,
we are really looking forward to updating it.
We've based a lot of the City around existing real World architecture
to give that air of realism and immersion for the players,
and this really comes across with all the hard work we've put into that.
Initially we meet with designers and curators of an area
to get then an idea of the look and the feel they're after,
and then the results of the meetings are then passed over to Mod Piso and his team of concept artists.
The concept art department is the place in the graphic team,
where we decide on the style on the specific quest or specific part of the game.
It's the place where all the pieces come together in a way.
The feeling we wanted to convey when re-designing Al Kharid, it was that of a dynamic City full of people.
We wanted to give a feeling of uncertainty, some kind of menace lingering.
We tried to achieve this feeling by choosing a specific coloured palette, mostly reds.
The concept art team took about a month I think we produced
more than one hundred pieces of concept art for this place.
After Mod Piso and his team have finished the concept art,
it gets then passed over to Mod Stead in the Environment Team Mod Alec in the Character Modelling Team
for them to work their magic and actually bring these models to life.
Character modeller is responsible for taking the concept art
and producing the in-game characters that you see.
We also do the inventory models things like weapons,
and generally we help animation with bells and things that's on the characters.
It's still the same Al Kharid that everyone knows and loves,
we just sort of gone in added a lot more flavour to the area and made it look a lot more exciting.
Hopefully players should hopefully be able to recognise their favourite shops from the themes that we've put in there.
Usually when we're creating something like a human NPC like these characters here,
it would take about 2 days and we allow another 6 hours to create the chat head.
The way players used to get from Lumbridge to Al-Kharid was just through a fence
and they would just jump over.
So we wanted to work in a bit more of a natural blend with a cliff,
which allows players to walk through canyons making it a little more atmospheric.
In the past we kind of stuck to the sort of generic shaped character
where everybody is based on the same geometry,
and we're really trying to push that to get all shapes and sizes and figures into the game now.
Once we've created our models we stick them into our map editor, which is like a World builder
from there we can flesh out the environment build buildings and kits and get a feel for it,
then we can go backwards and forwards and just tweak things to make sure they look as good as possible.
After the modelling has finished the assets then get passed over to the Animations team, headed up by Mod Paul B.
Our day-to-day work is basically is to take the models
that the character modellers create and breathe life into them really.
We look at the characters, we work out what kind of personality they have,
we read the back story on those characters and how they generally fit into the project we're working on.
We've also tried to push the animation considerably in the cut-scene areas of content within Al-Kharid.
Not only do you see characters in-situ in the town interacting with the player,
but there is a various storyline arcs that the player has described to them
via a more cinematic elements in the cut-scene.
And we're really trying to take cues from film and from television
to really push the camera angles to really evoke emotion within those cut-scenes now.
Once the animations have been finished and all the models have been created
they are then passed back over to the content developers,
where they plug them in and test them making sure they look and behave how they expect them to be.
We gather feedback to make sure everyone is happy with it.
Once everyone is happy with it and it is bug free, it gets released into the full game.
I'm really proud of the hard work that the entire team has put into the area,
it looks absolutely fantastic.
We've got a great quest lined up that will make full use of the area,
and we're really excited that in the future we'll be giving many more areas this level of polish and level of update.
And if you like the look of the all new Al Kharid and want to see more Behind the Scenes videos,
subscribe to our channel at
Next week... God Wars!